Abstracts and References

Published: 03 August 2015

Evaluation of ecosystem services along urban-rural transects in southern Italy

Daniele La Rosa, Riccardo Privitera


The concept of Ecosystem Services (ES) has gained relevance on the scientific agenda and has found its way into research on urban environments. Cities and towns, like any other ecosystem, provide specific services to their inhabitants and communities and they are benefited by surrounding ecosystems as well.

At the same time, processes of urban development threaten contemporary metropolitan contexts and lead to an overall decreasing of environmental quality and general fragmentation of agricultural and (semi) natural landscapes. As a result of these processes the number of Non Urbanized Areas present in urban contexts is dramatically decreasing. These areas include cultivated land, abandoned farmlands, grassland, woods and shrubs that are often located at the peri-urban cities’ fringes. Among these areas, farmlands and other forms of urban and peri-urban agriculture provide all three major categories of Ecosystem Services: provisioning, regulating and cultural services. This paper presents an evaluation of the provision of Ecosystem Services along three urban-rural transects of a high density urban context, namely the metropolitan area of Catania (south Italy). Land-use categories are evaluated with GIS spatial analysis in terms of their potential provision of the Ecosystem Services. Results show that agricultural lands are the most important landscape features in providing ES, both in terms of their spatial extension and numbers of provided services. The study also revealed as cultural services are under-estimated in urban contexts when only land-use/land cover data are used in the evaluation.

Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Metropolitan Areas, urban-rural, GIS, Land-use;

Acta Geobalcanica | Volume 1 | Issues 2 | Pp: 75-82;


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Available Online First: 03 August 2015


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